You don’t have to pump iron like Arnold Schwarzenegger or be an aerobic powerhouse to reap health rewards from a daily exercise regimen. By simply taking a half hour out of your day for resistance exercise and working a brisk walk or run into your busy schedule, you can greatly reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine earlier this month finds that by combining the two exercise options, men can reduce their chances of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by as much as 59 percent. Weight training alone reduced the risk by about 34 percent.
The researchers say the new study is significant because for the first time they have shown that weight training is a viable tool in the fight against diabetes for those who have difficulties with aerobic exercise.
“Until now, previous studies have reported that aerobic exercise is of major importance for type 2 diabetes prevention,” said lead author Anders Grøntved, visiting researcher in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH and a doctoral student in exercise epidemiology at the University of Southern Denmark. “But many people have difficulty engaging in or adhering to aerobic exercise. These new results suggest that weight training, to a large extent, can serve as an alternative to aerobic exercise for type 2 diabetes prevention.”
The study shows that even a modest amount of weight training may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
While this particular study focused primarily on men, weight training is thought to help women combat diabetes as well. In both men and women, weight training helps the body more effectively process the massive amounts of sugar consumed in the most modern diets.